Lucid, Nikola and Fisker report as Wall Street eyes production

Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson poses at the Nasdaq MarketSite as Lucid Motors (Nasdaq: LCID) begins trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange after completing its business combination with Churchill Capital Corp IV in New York, New York, July 26, 2021.

andrew kelly | Reuters

Investors in battered electric vehicle stocks are bracing for first-quarter earnings reports, which begin in earnest over the next few days.

Year-to-date, the asset group has struggled: The S&P Kensho Electric Vehicles Index is down about 25% since the start of 2022 and 43% from its February peak of Last year. The index tracks electric automakers like Tesla and Honda as well as major auto industry suppliers like Visteon and Lear.

Some of the industry’s best-known stocks fared even worse. They mostly claim little to no income and minimal to no production, and three of them are expected to report income in the next two days.

First, Fisker

California-based EV startup Fisker will report after markets close on Wednesday.

Fisker, founded by former Aston Martin chief designer Henrik Fisker, has over 40,000 reservations for its upcoming Ocean, a sleek electric SUV that will start around $38,000.

Fisker does not have its own factory; Global automotive supplier Magna International will build the Ocean at its contract manufacturing facility in Austria. Production is expected to start in November.

Last year, Fisker announced plans for a second vehicle, a lower-cost model named “PEAR” to be built by Taiwanese contractor Foxconn Technology Group from 2023. And earlier Wednesday, Fisker announced a third model, a sports car called Ronin, scheduled for the end of 2024.

Analysts will likely have questions about what’s shaping up to be an aggressive model launch schedule, set before Fisker ships even a single vehicle.

Shares of the company are down about 37% this year, as of Tuesday’s close, and are down 64% from their all-time high of $28.50 set in February 2021.

Production plans at Nikola

Electric truck maker Nikola Motors will report before markets open on Thursday.

Phoenix-based Nikola is probably best known for the scandals that led to the abrupt departure of founder Trevor Milton in September 2020. Milton now faces federal charges over allegations he misled investors about the Nikola’s state of technology – but after paying a deal with the US government, his former company moved forward.

Under Milton’s successor, CEO Mark Russell, Nikola streamlined its go-to-market plan, forged key partnerships and began production of the battery-electric version of its Tre heavy-duty truck. A longer-range version of the Tre, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, is expected next year.

Nikola said Monday he raised about $200 million through a private sale of convertible notes. Its current cash balance — estimated at around $1 billion — and projected funding needs will likely be topics of interest during its Thursday morning earnings call.

Nikola’s stock is down about 32% this year through Tuesday, and 91% from its all-time high of $79.73, set in June 2020.

Lucid Clarity

Unlike Nikola and Fisker, Lucid will have revenue to report when it releases its first-quarter results after markets close Thursday. The Arizona-based luxury electric vehicle maker began production of its first model, the Air sedan, last fall.

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson served as chief engineer on Tesla’s famous Model S. The Air, an uncompromising luxury sedan with enormous range and performance, could be seen as an updated version of the ideas that formed the Model S.

Reviews of the Air have been very good – among other accolades, the Air was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. But Lucid has struggled to scale up Air production amid continued global supply chain disruptions. In February, it cut its 2022 production target from 20,000 vehicles to between 12,000 and 14,000.

The status of Lucid’s production ramp-up will likely be a hot topic during Thursday’s earnings call.

Lucid’s stock is down about 49% this year through Tuesday, and 66% from its all-time high of $58.05, set in February 2021.

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